Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Merry and Bright Christmas!

A belated Merry Christmas and an early New Years my friends!
Photo: #christmas #pie #rudolph
Pie my creative sister made
The month of December has been even more busy for both Jen and I this year.

My husband and I have been caught up with packing/moving/unpacking/sorting/organizing/lessening our accumilation of "stuff" and celebrating Christmas with all its joys and, of course, this year all plans for Christmas changed on Christmas Eve. Jen has had extra family time to invest in - which she'll tell you all about sometime in Janaury.

I've always enjoyed the idea of regular blogging, and I am making a strong attempt to stay on top of posting, somtimes it is just as important to say "no".
Photo: #christmas
Our tree-topper
I've been taking the time to breathe and enjoy the season. No white Christmas here like last year, but plenty of cold weather and icy nights to gaze at the stars. My husband and I celebrated "our" little Christmas a week early this year. I gave him a webcam so he can talk and play D&D with his friends in Colorado and he took me shopping for some sweaters.
Our budgets are limited and with the shining eyes of little ones the magic seems different as an adult. I love Christmas. And time with my family, especially with my siblings and parents is always fun. But a few years from now, with new little ones and their cousins? It is something I look forward to a great deal.
For now, I just enjoy this time, my cats and my husband. The quietness of it all.

2013 will bring an entire new set of challenges for us. 2012 held a new town, a new house, a new school, a new degree path and a new job. It held me finding health and dealing with the confusion of what to do now that I had it. It held us rescuing Oggy, our kitten and it has held us learning to budget as a married couple.
Photo: #merrychristmas

2013 will hold different challenges, sorrows and joys. I'm starting college again, and looking forward to it. My husband is taking 21 credits and working. We have just moved into a much tinier space and we have committed to making do with less. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pinterest Finds

I am a huge fan of Pinterest.

I love it. It is awesome and helpful. 

But when it comes to baby stuff? Watch out! You guys, there is sooo many cute ideas!

  •  I've already designed several nurseries, for both genders. 
  • Planned outfits and complete wardrobes.
  • Decided I have to learn how to crochet and knit. 
  • Learned all about newborn photography and have all the photoshoots planned out. 
  • Drooled over all the cute, cool and vintage toys. 
  • HAVE to have a custom built crib and rocking horse and perfectly tinted paint for the walls. And the mobiles!
  • I looooveeee the mobiles. I think I need at least 3 or 4. 

Pinterest both soothes and feeds my baby fever. I can't seem to quit it. 

And that is just the fun baby stuff!
  • I have my pregnancy exercise plan in place.
  • My pregnancy diet. 
  • All my information about doulas and midwives and water births. 
  • How to prepare my husband for a baby. 
  • How to prepare the cats for a baby.
  • How to recover from birth.
  • Tons of information on breastfeeding and homemade baby food....

The list goes on and on. 

In all seriousness though, I really do enjoy the site, and the concepts for creating my own personal style are easily available. Not to mention how much it has helped my find Gluten-Free tips and recipes! So here is what just might become a weekly thing: My current top Pinterest finds:
 clever boys lampGuy Gift: Manly bandaidssource unknownShhhhh!Cute ladybugs from ribbons!I will never pass up another set of wooden salt & peppers at the thrift stores again...doing NOWSkinny Chunky Monkey Cookies- no eggs, flour, or sugar, but they taste amazing! And at less than 50 calories a cookie, you can eat quite a few of them. :)  #recipe #cookie #healthyPostpartum Abdominal ReconditioningBaby Sundress Bootie SetA giant list of super fun science experiments to do with kids with simple household items.So cute and unisex.  LOVE!!garage sale car turned batmobile :)  fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Potty Training... I think.

Naked butts everywhere.. toddler ones that is.

The boys have spent the last week refusing to wear clothing and the last two days, even diapers. Its turning cold (finally) and they want to be naked.

Nap time today was especially rough, they slept in late and refused to nap. Whatever, mom needs a little down time, fillings redone and mouth was killing me. In to bed they go, normal crying "I don't wanna be here" kind of cries.. then, the hysterics begin.

I find Thing 2, naked, in his pee. The horror upon horrors have happened to him, his blankie, his precious blankie from Auntie Julie and Uncle B is wet. He was not upset he peed in his bed but damn, the blankie took one for the team. Get him up and squared and turn to see Thing 1 kicking happily with his legs hanging out of his crib, also butt naked. Fine, out you get. What do they do.. run straight into the bathroom.

That's right, into the potty they went. Thing 2 climbed on while Thing 1 propped him up, giving him encouragement. With an all done declared, and no peepee in the potty, they swapped places and rolls. All on their own. Let me repeat that..

All. On. Their. Own.

I can't begin to imagine how to tackle this. It has been a few months since we tried the potty. Thing 1 had issues with constipation and was scared of the toilet since.

I can't get them to listen to me or figure out how to get them to comprehend telling mommy when they need to potty or getting them to actually pee.

Did I read a book? I gave up on child rearing books when nothing mentioned raising multiples outside of a few specialty books.

I guess I'm going to just go with the flow and see where we end up.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pretty in Pink - and Muddy Trucks

I like pink.

I do. I like soft pinks and pale pinks and blush pinks and sometimes I like bright pinks.

I have a pink blanket from my small childhood days that still resides in my closet for my sad and sick days. It is full of holes and so worn its nearly see through. It is comforting and soft and fuzzy and pink and

Pink perfection. When I moved home after my Mom fell and broke a chunk out of her shoulder blade I painted my room the palest pink and accented it with gray. The curtains were gray and pink pinstripe.

I like pink.

Most things in my life aren't pink. I have some t-shirts that are pink because it is a good color on me. And I have pink nail polish I wear occasionally. But most of my house is all about red and turquoise and gray. When I think of a little girl, I do think pink. I don't think she will be all "princessed" out just because I like pink or she has a pink room.

I like pink and I was NEVER the Princess.Disney Cinderella  #Disney #Cinderella

I enjoy Disney movies and Cinderella and Peter Pan are still my favorites.

I don't care if my daughter(s) play princess. Or have Pretty Pretty Princess and dress up ball gowns that look like Belle's or a pink room with a pink blanket.

What I do care about is the additude. Being a "princess" doesn't mean you rule roost, are rude and bossy, or overly privledged. It certainly doesn't mean you get a way with everything simpliy because you are wearing a toy tiara and are just so precious looking.

What stops that "princess" additude is something called parenting. No, I don't have kids, how on earth dare I write about parenting? I have parents. Great ones. I have excellent role models of what it takes to raise kids in them. I can look at myself. I can look at my siblings. I can look at many other kids and see the difference. That is where my opinion and experience comes from. I intend to provide the same for my children as well.

Derringer Silver Gun w/ Pink Pearl Handle
So yes, someday if my husband and I look at ultrasound machine and are told "it's a girl!" pink will happen. So will dresses and bows and fairy tales.

I want my girls to be confident in being girly. I don't want them to feel like they have to be a "tomboy" to be taken seriously or thought smart. I want them to not care if someone dismisses them at first glance because they like girly things. It is a natural thing as a little girl to want to dress up. It is a natural thing as a young woman to want to feel pretty.


What I hope to instill into my daughters is where they find that feeling of beautiful. I want them to know it's a beautiful thing to see a confident woman. Comfortable in her own skin. Who demonstrates no need to excuse her glittery high heels or her awesome bow-hunting techniques. Because you can love dresses and shooting. Make-up and muddy trucks. Shoes and paintball.

Ivanka Trump says to break away from the black suit for business: "As I grew more confident professionally, I realized I could express my abilities just as well in a pink suit, or a neutral one worn with a colorful silk cami." So true! #sakslltrip
"As I grew more confident professionally, I realized I could express my abilities just as well in a pink suit, or a neutral one worn with a colorful silk cami." -Ivanka Trump
I desire for my daughters to know that feeling feminine doesn't mean pink and princesses and being arm-candy. But being a strong woman also doesn't mean that you have to distain pink and princesses and dressing up for your man on a night out.

Being a beautiful, confident woman means enjoying the things you enjoy, no matter what it is, and enjoying being a woman. And if you enjoy your things in pink - that doesn't make you a weaker woman. Especially when you can out-shoot everyone else at the police department you work at.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Toys! Toys! Toys!

One of the issues that concerns my husband at times when it comes to little money and kids is providing them  things they want, not just need.

I had this outfit for my dolls...
It is a fair concern, and one that does come up nearly every day for most parents in the US.

I can't say that this is a big concern of mine, however.

It isn't that I don't want my kids to have things they enjoy or desire. It is simply that I don't think that kids have to have those feelings of "I want I want I want". Myself and siblings rarely had that. Neither did my cousins.

It wasn't that we were weathly - rather far from it. And I know that it helped a lot that we were homeschooled and did not have that peer goup pressure on a daily basis of "fitting in" (more on that topic later).

We thought this one was sooo cool
When I look back on my childhood there are a few things that stand out as awesome. When I ask my husband, and indeed, most of my friends, it is the the same for them as well.

1. Books it was impossible to ever ever ever have too many books, but the library was just as satisfying.

2. Barbies. one of my aunts only had boys and she loved to buy her 5 neices Barbies, and all her accessories for Christmas. I have a tub saved for my little girls.

3. Stuffed Animals seriously loved my stuffed animals more than dolls. My three favorites were a cat named Samantha, A seal named Aurora and a rabbit named Heidi-Kate. 

4. Giant Boxes! What kid didn't love giant boxes to make forts out of? Having a dad that could bring them home was AWESOME! 

5. Legos while they were pretty much always given to my brother, I can't imagine a childhood without them.

For my brother, cousins and husband the breakdown goes a bit like so:

1. Legos

2. GI Joe

3. Paintball guns and equipment

4. Sticks and dirt clods for battles

5. Video games

The games we played at kids often involved gathering up all of our little toys and setting up "shops", designating money and utterly distorying the living room for days.

Telling stories, So many nights my brother would sneak into the room I shared with my little sister, or we would go into his and tell whispered stories that we made up.

We also played ouside a LOT. Sometimes parentally enforced, often times voluntarily.

Ultimatly I suppose my point is this, I'm more concerned with raising happy, imaginative children who are able to entertain themselves then I ever will be with the "stuff" they have. Of course I want to be able to buy my kids the latest and greatest... if it really is the greatest. I really don't want to raise them to rely on constant stimulation from something new to play and have fun. I do not want to have children who are truely bored because, surrounded by heaps of toys and gadgets, they can't think of new ways to use them.

The toys we had as children were fun, I'm glad we had them. When I think back, however, I don't recall disappointment for not getting a specific Barbie doll. I remember how my parents set up a cheap shelving unit with doors to be a pretend doll house - because (as I now realize) they couldn't afford to get us a real doll house. And it was just as fun, my sister and I did not miss out or feel we were lacking. My parents did a great job, and I hope to do the same.

What toys from childhood do you remember?

Friday, December 7, 2012

In a few years...

Photo: #christmas
 We always top a tree with the Abombiable Snowman
I can't lie. I am dreaming of babies. Every month that goes by I give a little sigh over all the things I could have been doing with a little one.

It isn't that I regret the choices that my husband and I have made.

Yes. We are taking the harder path, the longer, more up-hill road.

No. We really don't regret it.

Oh, there are some things we do wish were different. We could have stayed in Colorado. We could be making 6 figures between the two of us - right this minute. But, we aren't. We aren't even making 20 grand a year. That does suck. It sucks really hard. I'm not going to pretend that we like it, our current circumstances aren't fun by any means.

To be honest, however, it is more of a wishful thinking, then it is a regret. Had we stayed in Colorado, my husband would now be working between 80-90 hours a week. The money would be great... and the time would little. I would be working at minimum 55 hours a week. Again, the money would be rolling in. But the time to enjoy it?

Photo: #merrychristmas

In less than 3 years my husband will be graduating with a two bachelor's in fields that will make it easy for him to work from home. From. Home.

And he'll be making more money too.

In a few years the watching-every-penny won't be necessary, but it will have become a good habit. One we can pass on to our children. I'm grateful for that.

In a few years we will be able to live in a house and not be anticipating moving yet again.

In a few years we will be able to own more than one car. That will be nice.

In a few years we will be able to go on a real, honest-to-goodness vacation that doesn't include visiting our families - as much as we do enjoy that.

Photo: #grandpa
Grandpa visiting
In a few years we won't have opposite schedules.

In a few years... A lot of things will be different.

But life isn't about "in a few years." It is about here and now. Living in the joy and struggle of the present. I actually enjoy the challenge of our budget. It forces me to be creative, to stop and think, to be delibrate with each purchase. To lessen our accumilation of "stuff". To simplify and beautify. That is a pretty cool thing if you ask me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Gifts = Less Shopping

Photo: #merrychristmas #booklovers
Our Christmas Tree of Books

I am over shopping. 

And no I am not being "grinchy" nor am I full of bah-humbug.
I am simply tired of feeling like I'm saving money by compromising and buying the three shirts on sale versus the sweater I really want because I could get three of them for the same price as one.

I need a new mind-set. One that says, "screw trends!" in a ballsy (but lady-like) roar, "create your own classic look and rock it like Audrey Hepburn forever.

Add in Christmas shopping on a barely-there budget this year and I am really questioning "would they like this gift? Or am I buying it because I  think it is adorable?" Because, let's be honest, most of us do that.

GrinchFor my extended family this year I made batches of Snickerdoodle cookie mix and Spiced Tea mix and packaged them in mason jars. For my grandparents I am making two signs. One says "Grandkids" and has clips for each of their darlings (there are 14 now) and one says "Great-Grankids" and will have clips (they have 3 now) with more to clips to be added as they come along. For my Nana, who loved paper dolls as a child and had an extensive collection saved in the Dustbowl era of Oklahoma, I am printing out those printable "old fashioned" paper dolls, and making them into magnets.

Simple gift wrap My goal is to give gifts that are truely full of thought. Ones that show that I spent time on thinking about what would make them happy, what they would truely enjoy, what their individual style is.

I'm still working on ideas for my immediate family. For Blair, considering our limited budget, we agreed that we would only spend $30 dollars on each other. After talking with his friends in Colorado that he rarely sees, I have ordered him a webcam (yay Cyber Week deals!) so that he can Skype with them and play Dungons and Dragons.

I want him to have "guy time" again. Right now, he is attending a very small college and most of the students are 10 years younger than him. And single. And not thinking about kids. And really, they don't have much in commmon. He told me the other day he is the "old man".

The other thing I am doing for him is an idea I got from The Dating Divas - 25 days of celebrating my husband! I'm making cards for each day, a love letter, a compliment, and offer to make whatever he wants for dinner or dessert, breakfast in bed, a movie night.... All things that are free, or nearly so.

It is December 1st, you guys! 25 days until Christmas. I am excited, playing Christmas music, and last night I stayed up until 2am building us a Christmas tree from books since I have to pack them up anyway and I don't want to un-pack and then re-pack the Christmas stuff when I still have so much to get done for our move, two days after Christmas!

I love Linus from Charlie Brown's Christmas Special.

What Christmas is all about ...

Merry Christmas